Frida and I are in love with “Nina and the Neurons” on Cbeeies.
Nina uses her five senses to answer kids questions about how things work such as how an x-ray works..or a television or an echo. It is a really great show for 4-7 year olds. It has two thumbs up from SmallScience!
While waiting for my daughter to get out of her ballet class the other day I passed the time rummaging through a book sale at a small private library. What I found has inspired our newest project …Seeds!
There are several great aspects of this “I can read science book”. The text is simple and the illustrations are sweet. It introduces the concept of living vs. non-living by asking questions about the differences between a seed and a stone, a pebble, a marble. It identifies seeds that young children are exposed to in their everyday lives and gives a simple explanation of where seeds come from, all from the prospective of a small boy named Benny. For those interested the book is called Seeds and More Seeds” by Millicent E. Selsam (1959).
So Frida and I are on the look out for seeds… and anything else that we can put in a pot and see if it grows. I will collect some egg cartons and other small containers (yogurt pots etc.) in the coming weeks. Let’s hope Spring weather comes soon.
Frida and I love this website when we are having some computer time together. There are games, videos and science and math activities to play with Preschoolers.
Frida has recently become interested in anatomy. Not the parts of her body she can see…no that is old news…no she’s interested in what is inside her. This interest was sparked by a puzzle that she discovered at her new school. The first layer is clothes, then skin, then muscle, then organs and last the bones. What she has discovered through her constant questions is that all her friends have skin, muscle, organs and bones. Mommies and Daddies have skin,muscle, organs and bones, and yes Tigger, the cat, has muscles, organs and bones… oh and skin as well it’s just covered with all that fur. Now she starts to ask where the blood is and I’ve decided to try and find material for her curious mind. Perhaps this collection of books. Does blogland have any suggestions?
A friend of mine hooked me on this site which has short animated movies about the body.
Update Feb2008: Here is another great site for kids to learn about the body.
Snails are abundant where I live. One of my favorite activities to do with my daughter, Frida, is look for snails after a rain.
The Snails and Slugs page over at Backyard Nature is a very good source of information on snails. This site has many fun Snail activities such a making a terrarium for snails (see pictures above and below). The absolutely best page on fun teaching about Snails is here. Frida is still a bit young to appreciate most of the experiments, however, I think I could coax her into examining snails with a magnifying glass and/or maybe into a short snail race.
The winter in Switzerland this year has been extremely mild. In fact, we only had one week of snow. Unfortunately, during that period I was unable to try snowflake collecting. Let’s hope next winter brings more snow (can’t believe I just wrote that). This post will offer up some nice Spring activities involving flowers. Most of the activities are for Preschoolers:
In Switzerland there is a lot of flower picking opportunities both free and pick/pay. First children can pick flowers of different kind and color. Flowers are brought back and sorted by color or kind and each category is counted. Cheap plastic vases and wood chips (with numbers painted on them) can be fashioned with Velcro and used to mark how many flowers are in each vase. This is an adaptation of FlowerShop homeschool activity. Counting and Sorting games are great for teaching math. I highly recommend looking at this site for other ideas.
Collecting white flowers, children can watch how flowers take up water. With white flowers, like Carnations or Queen Ann’s Lace, cut small piece of stem from bottom and place flower in vase containing water with a few drops of food coloring. Watch throughout the day as the petals change color. Details here
Don’t forget to have one group of flowers without food coloring to serve as a control.
When doing activities with flowers one possibility is to choose edible flowers. After main activity is finished the flowers can be tasted. If your child is like mine they may not readily eat the flowers. Why not sweeten the experience by preparing candied or crystallized flowers. List of edible flowers with comments on taste can be found here. Allergy prone individuals should not eat flowers.
More long term projects such as drying flowers and planting seeds are good for older children. Make a outdoor garden using an old baby pool. Make holes at the bottom of the pool then fill with dirt and plant flowers. Or a Baggie Garden by placing a a wet paper towel into a Ziploc bag and adding seeds.